Geek Culture in Cape Town: Where to Get Your Geek On in the Mothercity

ATK Arena - geek culture in Cape Town

Are you an avid card collector, a master at crafting the perfect Dungeons & Dragons character, or simply a dedicated gamer? If so, you’re likely looking for a place to enjoy your hobby and connect with some cool like-minded individuals. Fortunately, Cape Town offers a growing number of geek culture spaces. While some havens have long been established, new ones emerge constantly, yet can often slip under the radar. These spaces promise a unique experience and create a sense of community among players who share a passion for their hobbies. What’s on in Cape Town’s resident geek, Chris Cuningham of Studio Djembe, shares his favourites here.

Durbanville Games - Geek culture in Cape Town

Durbanville Games: for the Table Top Enthusiast 

The Pokemon TCG (Trading Card Game) has always been a personal passion of mine. When I started playing, I needed a place where I could enjoy the game to its fullest. If you have a Pokemon player in your life, it’s worth considering finding a league where they can put their cards to use.

Durbanville Games comes highly recommended. Not only does it offer a wide range of board games, trading cards, and DnD accessories, but it also provides an incredible space for playing tabletop games like Pokemon, Magic The Gathering, Yu Gi Oh, and Warhammer 40,000. The store hosts a variety of events, including sessions dedicated to both veteran players and beginners, all of which you can find on their website. Don’t feel intimidated to take out your cards or miniatures and become part of a warm and welcoming community.

When: Tuesday-Friday: 10am-6pm (Late Night Gaming until 11pm on Wed, Thurs, & Fri), Saturday: 9am-5pm, Sunday & Public Holidays: 10am-5pm
Where: Shop 22A, Palm Grove Centre, cnr Church & Main Rd, Durbanville, Cape Town

Website: durbanvillegames.co.za

choosing a DC comic from a comic book store

Cosmic Comics: for the ultimate Comic Collector

For comic collectors, Cape Town hosts numerous great comic shops, but for the largest selection in South Africa, look no further than Cosmic Comics. Cosmic Comics houses an extensive collection of comics and graphic novels, including graded editions.

Of course, we can’t forget all the collectables that go with them. Don’t know where to start? Don’t stress, the staff know their stuff and are more than happy to help you find what you’re looking for or answer any burning questions. Just maybe don’t start the whole ‘Marvel vs DC comics’ debate – things could get messy.

When: Monday – Sunday; 9am-9pm
Where: Canal Walk Shopping Centre, Century Blvd, Century City, Cape Town, 7446

Website: cosmiccomics.online

ATK Arena: for the Digital Gamer

For those seeking the LAN party experience without the hassle of packing up the PC, I highly recommend the gaming lounge at ATK Arena. Situated in Stadium on Main, this fantastic venue is ideal for gathering your group to enjoy some PC games together. The space features state-of-the-art PCs, simulation stations, and consoles. ATK Arena hosts regular tournaments for those who are feeling competitive.

And if you’re planning to frequent the ATK Arena there’s a membership option available that offers greatly discounted playtime. The venue boasts a lounge, bar, and cafe so you don’t have to go far to grab that emergency Monster. There’s a wide variety of video games pre-installed to keep you entertained or you can sign into your accounts to access your personal library of games.

When: Thursday: 2pm–7pm | Friday: 2pm–9pm | Saturday & Sunday: 10am–7pm
Where: Stadium on Main, 91 Main Road Parkade Ground Level, Claremont, Cape Town

Website: atkarena.com

Barcadia Cape town retro arcade and bar

Barcadia: Geek Culture for the Retro Gamer

Ready for a different kind of gaming experience? Consider a night out at Barcadia, where retro arcade games take centre stage. Located in the city centre, Barcadia offers a fantastic spot for an evening with friends. Plus, it’s a 21+ bar, so you can enjoy your gaming experience without worrying about kids hogging the machines. The best part is that all the games are free at Barcadia, eliminating the need to dig in the couch for change.

Grab a drink and challenge your friends to Mortal Kombat, or snack on some popcorn while you play Pac-Man. The entire place exudes a crazy 90’s nostalgic vibe, making it perfect for anyone who grew up spending their pocket money at arcades.

When: 1pm to 2am (Tue – Sat)
Where:  62 Hout St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town

Website: barcadia.co.za

Fanaticus Games: for the Board Game Aficionado

If you’d like to unwind with some low-tech entertainment, how about indulging in board games at Fanaticus Games? Founded post-lockdown, Fanaticus Games caters to a community that enjoys the traditional way of gathering and playing games. With a vast collection available for play right in the store, ranging from Backgammon to King of Tokyo, there’s something for everyone.

Instead of regular hours, Fanaticus Games hosts a variety of geek culture events, including game nights and RPG nights, as well as other special occasions. Check out the list of upcoming events here. During these events, you can play any of the demo games with your friends or meet someone new. Maybe bring your own favourite game and challenge a stranger to a match.

Cost: R50 entry or free with a friend, (the R50 is redeemable as store credit) 

When: No regular hours but rather weekly events
Where: The Clubhouse, 3 Sonneblom Street, Parow North, Cape Town

Website: fanaticus.co.za


Are you ready to get out there?

These are just a few of the amazing spaces that are out there, each offering its own unique experiences and opportunities to meet new people. As geeks and gamers ourselves, we encourage you to get out there and explore, to find these spaces that align with your passions and interests. Whether you’re drawn to the world of comics, trading card tournaments, or getting the squad together for a LAN, Cape Town’s geek culture scene has something for everyone. So much like a DnD campaign, embark on your journey, discover new realms, and forge friendships within the awesome community of geek culture enthusiasts. The adventure awaits!

Chris Cuningham Studio Djembe

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